This Slow Cooker Apple Butter has no sugar added – just fresh apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice. This healthy homemade apple butter can be enjoyed on toast, stirred into oatmeal or yogurt, or eaten by the spoonful! It’s Paleo-friendly and vegan.
How do you all feel about your slow cooker? Do you love it? Do you even have one?! Because if you don’t…you should get on that.
I’ve been a little bit slow to the slow cooker party. I’ve had one, and used it sparingly over the past two or so years. Maybe a handful of times, to be honest. Each time, delicious meals were had, and the slow cooker was put away, not to be brought out again until the next slow cooker recipe I spotted on Pinterest had me pulling it out of the cupboard again.
But now, my friends, I’m starting to discover the tons of ways to use your slow cooker for more than just savory, fall-of-the-bone meat dinners. Anddd…the first slow cooker treat up? *drum roll please*
Homemade, no sugar added apple butter!!! This is the stuff of dreams, folks. I don’t know about you, but I 😍 LOVE apples. They have such a delicious sweet and tart flavor, and melt down into the most deliciously beautiful butter that BEGS to be spread and dripped over just about everything in your kitchen.
Even better, not a whole lot of effort goes into this apple butter making process. Picking the apples is an important first step though. Go for a mix of sweet and tart apples, so that you’ll have a balanced apple butter – not too sweet, not too tart. I used a mix of Honeycrisps (my favorite!), Granny Smiths, Sweet Tangos, and Galas.
After the apples are cored and sliced (by far the hardest part), you just toss them into the slow cooker and let it be. No peeling required – the apples will be blended into oblivion anyways, so we keep the extra nutrients in there and give our hands a break by skipping that step.
A little bit of water is also added to the slow cooker because it helps keep the apples from sticking to the bottom of the pan and will also create some steam to help cook the apples. The apples are cooked down on high for about 4 hours or until they’re super tender and falling apart when you stir them.
Once they’re tender enough, it’s time to blend, blend, blend! I used my Vitamix and the whole batch just fit inside with room to blend – I let it go for about a 1 minute on medium-high speed until it was super silky smooth. Most blenders would likely be able to do the job, but you may need to do more than one batch depending on the size and strength of your blender. You can also keep things super simple and use an immersion blender.
After it’s all blended, it goes back into the slow cooker along with some cinnamon sticks to reduce and thicken into a gorgeous, thick and smooth apple butter. From this point, it’s up to you how much longer to let it cook. I recommend somewhere between one to two hours, but if you want a thinner, lighter apple butter, take it off early! Like it super thick and dark? Go for at least two hours, maybe longer if that’s what you’re into.
Just keep tasting and see how you like it. Same goes for the spices and lemon juice – I give my recommended and preferred amounts in the instructions, but use your tastebuds! I was so tempted to eat this all out of the slow cooker as it cooked…it’s that good.
Once you’re happy with the taste and thickness of your apple butter, EAT IT ALL!! Just kidding, but eventually, yeah – do that, just not all at once. Keep it stored in the fridge and put it on everything. I love it swirled into oatmeal along with some chopped apples and pecans (YUM) and it’s also amazing on toast, or swirled in yogurt. Or you can make lots of batches of these amazing apple butter rugelach. Just get your slow cooker out – it’s apple butter time :) enjoy!
Remember to #bakerita if you try the recipe!
Slow Cooker Apple Butter
- 5 lbs. apples assorted varieties, cored and sliced
- ¼ cup water
- 2 cinnamon sticks optional
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Add your sliced apples (you can keep the peels on) to your slow cooker with 1/4 cup water. Turn the slow cooker on to high heat and cook for four hours. Alternatively, set it to low heat and let it cooker for a longer amount of time - about 6 to 8 hours. Stir the apples semi-frequently to prevent sticking to the bottom of the slow cooker - the water will help prevent sticking but you don’t want them to burn at all. The apples will get very tender.
- Turn off the heat and using a potato masher or wooden spoon, mash the apples into a thick, chunky applesauce. Let it cool slightly.
- Next, we’re going to blend the applesauce completely smooth so the apple butter will be super silky. If you have an immersion blender, that’s an easy way to blend it up. I used my Vitamix, and most blenders would do the job. If your blender is on the smaller side, it may require multiple batches. You can also use a food processor, though that will require a couple batches. Make sure to leave an air hole while blending to let the steam escape - your applesauce will still be very hot. I left the apple butter blending in my Vitamix on medium speed for about 1 minute - yours may take longer to get as smooth as you want.
- Pour the blended applesauce back into the slow cooker (add the cinnamon sticks now, if using) and cook uncovered for another 1-2 hours, or until you reach your desired darkness and thickness. Mine went for about 1 1/2 hours on high after blending.
- When you've achieved your desired thickness, stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice.
- Store in sealed jars or containers in the refrigerator. Enjoy on toast, stirred into oatmeal or yogurt, or in these apple butter rugelach!
Your yield will depend on how much you cook down the apple butter during the final cooking stage - I had a yield of about 4 cups.